Commanders to remain in Southeast until anti-PKK offensive completed

Turkey’s chief of General Staff and force commanders who rushed to the country’s southeast after the killing of 24 soldiers last Wednesday in a series of attacks by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to oversee the ensuing anti-PKK offensive will not return to Ankara until the offensive is successfully completed.

Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel (front) and the force commanders seen during a military ceremony. (Photo: AA)

Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel (front) and the force commanders seen during a military ceremony. (Photo: AA)

Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and the military’s force commanders are still in Hakkari and Özel is personally commanding the air-backed ground offensive that was launched against the PKK along the border and in northern Iraq. General Staff sources say the day the commanders will return has not yet been set.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on Saturday that the top commanders “pledged not to return their homes before accomplishing the anti-PKK operation.”

The PKK killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 others in simultaneous attacks on Wednesday. The attack was the deadliest PKK attack in 18 years and the fourth deadliest since the PKK started its campaign of separatist violence nearly three decades ago.

The Turkish military immediately took action in retaliation and launched a major offensive against the PKK. The military operation against the terrorists involves thousands of troops and focuses on both sides of the mountainous Turkey-Iraq border. The General Staff announced that a total of 49 terrorists have been killed during the course of the operation so far, while some news reports claim that over 100 PKK members have been killed.

 

 

 

23 October 2011, Sunday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,